Tour of Britain gets bigger than ever

The Tour of Britain looks set to be bigger and better than previous editions. Procycling's Peter Cos


The Tour of Britain looks set to be bigger and better than previous editions. Procycling’s Peter Cos

IMAGE © TOUR OF BRITAIN The organizers of the Tour of Britain have revealed a number of innovations for the route to the 2007 edition of the race, which takes between September 9th-15th. As well as being moved a couple of days back in the calendar, the race also benefits from the addition of an extra day of racing and, like the Tour de France, is set to start with a prologue time trial in London and runs south to north for the first time, with the final stage finishing in Glasgow. The race begins with a 2.5km prologue time trial at Crystal Palace in south-east London. Going off at one-minute intervals, the 96 riders will tackle a course on Crystal Palace’s old motor racing circuit. According to race technical director Mick Bennett, “the course starts with a kilometre running downhill, then a lung-bursting climb towards the finish”. The first road stage from Reading to Southampton is the shortest of the race at 140km, but Bennett believes it is one of the most attractive days, with the latter half of the stage passing through the New Forest. The second stage of the race is the longest at 174km and should, according to Bennett, be the toughest of the race. This starts at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton and finishes in Taunton. The riders will make a pass through the finish for a final 50km loop over closed roads on Exmoor, where the fearsome climb of Porlock Hill is guaranteed to string the field out. Moving north, stage three (150km) starts in Worcester and finishes in Wolverhampton, where potential traffic problems will be avoided by the local council temporarily closing down the city’s ring road. Stage four (170km) is another tough one, running between Rotherham and Bradford. Although final details of this stage – and indeed most of the stages – have yet to be released, Bennett was able to confirm that the final climb before the finish in Bradford’s Lister Park will be the Cow and Calf climb out of the West Yorkshire paradise of Ilkley. Postman Pat fans should make a beeline for the finish of stage five (165km), which begins in Liverpool and passes through the Lake District before a testing finish in Kendal. The final 500 metres run up the aptly named one-in-seven slope of Beast Bank, which will take the riders up to Greendale, where Postman Pat and his black and white cat were created. The seven-day race finishes with a 155km stage from Dumfries to Glasgow. The race organisers also announced initial details of a cyclosportive over the course of the Somerset stage. This is set to take place on September 2nd, with entry limited to somewhere between three and four thousand riders. Official site: Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.